Mar 25, 2017

Stewed Daikon Using Chicken Stock and Grated Ginger

Chinese has one other way to categorize food by their "properties," such as "cold" and "hot." To explain it in the simplest way, these properties indicate what the food will do to your body. Take watermelon for instance, it's consider a cold food, so eating watermelon will give your body a cooling effect, the same goes to daikon.

What about hot food? Chilies and lamb are two of the examples. However, food properties can change depending on how the ingredient was used or prepared. Like tomatoes, if eating it raw, it can lower your body temperature; but after cooking, tomatoes become hot, and will give you a warming effect instead. 


As for the stewed daikon here, since daikon is on the colder side, so this recipe incorporates grated ginger - a warming agent to make it a more balanced dish.


Stewed daikon using chicken stock and grated ginger -





Ingredients?


  • 1 medium daikon radish (pick the thicker kind instead of the long and skinny variety)
  • Some unsalted or low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • Some corn starch and water mixture
  • Some salt
  • Some cilantro leaves


How?


Peel the daikon and cut into about 1.5-inch pieces.




Scrape the ginger with a metal spoon to peel off the skin. Finely chop or grate the ginger. 


The key is to use a big pot with wide surface. That way all the daikon pieces can evenly distributed on the bottom and all cooked through at the same time. Lay the daikon accordingly. Do not discard the tips or edges of the daikon, just squeeze them to any empty spaces in between. 




Pour in the chicken stock till slightly over the daikon. Evenly distribute the salt and grated ginger. Bring to a boil first then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer and put the lid on. Cook till the daikon turns tender and can be poked through easily with a chopstick. Takes about 30 to 35 minutes. 


Carefully remove the daikon to the serving dish. Meanwhile, mix some corn starch with water to make a thickening agent. Bring the pot to a light boil again and whisk in the mixture till the stock thickens, resembling a gravy-like sauce.




Pour the sauce over daikon, you can stack up a few daikon pieces to create some heights. Lastly, garnish with cilantro leaves right before serving.




It's light but flavorful since the daikon fully soaked up all the essence from the chicken stock. This dish also creates a sense of warmth, thanks to the grated ginger. If a milder ginger taste is preferred, you can make the chicken stock with a small chunk of ginger to begin with instead of adding grated ginger to the actual dish.



Mar 19, 2017

Shrimp and Grits (Serves as a Hearty Side Dish for 4 to 6 People)

Who else is a fan of grits? I've always fond of grits ever since I discovered the hearty cuisine of southern food. Whenever grits was spotted on the menu, soon after it'll show up on my table. However, I didn't start cooking it myself till a couple of years ago, and fell even deeper in love with such easy to handle ingredient. 

My all time favorite variety will always be a simple cheese grits. It's warming, fulfilling, and what's even better is the creamy cheese melted throughout the naturally sweet grits. But for this shrimp and grits recipe, grits is more like a supporting roll for the flavorful toppings. So the seasonings for the grits are toned down, but providing volume, in a way kind of like rice served alongside of broccoli beef stir-fry.

Shrimp and grits -



Ingredients?

Grits -

  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground grits
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese


Toppings -

  • 8 to 12 whole shrimps, peeled, deveined
  • 3 chorizo or spicy sausages
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Some chopped scallion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Some salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock


How?

Pour 1 1/2 cups water along with 1/2 cup grits to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Make sure to whisk the mixture once a while to prevent the grits from lumping and sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

Simmer for a short moment then pour in heavy whipping cream, keep whisking constantly and still keep the mixture at a simmer. Cook till the grits turn soft and creamy with texture similar to Chinese porridge. Set aside and wait till the topping is almost ready before adding the Cheddar.

Meanwhile, marinate peeled and deveined shrimps with lemon juice and smoked paprika, just simple seasonings. Marinate for about 10 minutes. The shrimps will suck in that refreshing lemony aroma, even after cooking with other heavy tasting seasonings.

Peel and slice the onion. Prepare the yellow bell pepper and slice it too. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. 

Prepare another pan or medium pot, drizzle in some oil and turn to medium high heat. Once the oil turns warm, add in the sausages and sear till slightly browned. Scoop out the sausages and set aside.

Using the same pan or pot, add in sliced onion, bell pepper, chopped garlic, small pinch of salt, and small pinch of black pepper. Drizzle a little bit more olive oil if not enough oil left when searing the sausages. Give it a quick stir and cook till the onion turns slightly browned. Transfer the sausages and shrimps to the mixture and cook till nearly done.

Meanwhile, prepare a small or medium saucepan and add in the butter. Using medium heat to melt the butter then pour in the flour. Cook the floor till it forms a paste, continue to stir and cook till the mixture turns medium browned. Keep an eye on it because this roux can get burned easily. Lower the heat a little if needed.


When the roux is ready, add it to the shrimps and sausages mixture. Also pour in the chicken stock and the Worcestershire sauce. Gently mix together all the ingredients, the texture should start turning gravy-like. 

While tending all these pans and pots in the kitchen, take a moment and pay attention to the grits. Add in the sharp Cheddar and keep whisking or stirring till fully incorporated. Taste and adjust the flavor with salt, about 1/2 teaspoon should do the trick. 


Scoop some grits to the serving plate then transfer the toppings over. Sprinkled some freshly ground black pepper and garnish with chopped scallion.

This recipe can serve as a side dish or even as a hearty brunch on the weekend. 

There are so many more grits variations and I already set my mind onto something, a savory grits bar, that way I can munch on grits with my fingers!


Other grits recipe: